Going through a divorce can be one of the toughest experiences that any couple has to endure. It’s even more complicated when there are children involved. Extra care needs to be taken to ensure that the child’s best interests are placed first. This could result in complex custody arrangements in even the best of situations where the parents can reach an agreement.
If an agreement cannot be reached, then Kingwood child custody lawyers can help prove to the court what is best for the child.
At Bolton Law, we work with the best child custody lawyers in all of Texas. We have been helping families navigate complicated legislature and legal practices for years. This includes areas like prenuptial agreements, estate planning, adoption rights, divorces, and child custody cases. In many of these cases, we have the unique position of fighting for both the client as well as the child.
If protecting your children and your parental rights is your goal, then we are here to help. Family law cases are often very sensitive and personal. Trying to fight against the system by yourself can seem overwhelming. Luckily, you don’t have to fight by yourself. Simply pick up the phone and contact our family law attorneys in Kingwood at 281-351-7897 for a consultation.
Are There Different Types of Child Custody Agreements in Texas?
Child custody in Texas can be separated into several categories. These categories come in two different variations. Both types of custody can be awarded to a single parent or they can be split between the two parents. The two main variations of custody are called legal custody and physical custody.
What school should your child attend? What religion should they practice? What type of medical procedures can they receive? These are all incredibly important decisions that can affect a child’s entire life. All of these decisions are considered a part of legal custody.
A parent who has legal custody of a child has the right to make important life decisions for the child like those mentioned above. A parent may have legal custody even if the child is not with them or does not live with them at all. These are all critical life decisions and should be made by a parent with a sound mind who clearly has the child’s interests at heart.
Where will the child’s primary residence be? Who will the child live with regularly? Who will make the daily life decisions for the child? These are all within the realm of physical custody.
A child will spend most of their time with a parent who has physical custody. Also known as the custodial parent, this individual will care for the child on a daily basis and make frequent decisions related to their care.
Sole or Joint Custody?
It’s not always as simple as giving one parent full custody rights in a specific category. This is especially true when both parents work hard for the child and have a lot to offer. In these cases, it is very common for custody types to be shared among the parents.
Ideally, both parents would have 50 percent legal custody and 50 percent physical custody. This type of joint custody would mean that both parents have a say in the upbringing of the child and they both get to spend an equal amount of time with the child. Unfortunately, custody rights are rarely divided so evenly.
In a case with joint physical custody, the child will have two different residences. The minimum allotment of time is usually 35 percent for one parent. That means either parent may have between 35 and 65 percent of the physical custody rights depending on the outcome of the case.
Similarly, in a case with joint legal custody, both parents have a responsibility to make important life decisions for the child. If the court finds that both parents are constantly fighting over decisions and rarely agree, then they amend the agreement to give greater control to one parent. That’s why it’s always best to try and work together with the other parent whenever possible.
Pure sole custody means that one parent has full legal and physical custody of the child. They are responsible for housing the child, taking care of their daily needs, and making critical life decisions. The child will only have one legal residence though the other parent may have some form of visitation rights.
How Does Texas Family Court Determine Child Custody?
As with most states, the family court in Texas ensures that the child is the primary concern. It’s not about what either parent wants or believes about the other. It’s about determining who can offer the best possible life for the child in terms of stability, security, emotional needs, and parenting skills. In some cases, it is a very easy decision for a judge to make while other cases require lots of evidence and plenty of time in court.
There are several individual factors that a judge must consider when determining child custody in Texas. As child custody lawyers, we help ensure that these factors reflect positively on you. It may require making some serious changes but it’s always worth it if it helps the child. We gather evidence to support your side on these factors so that the judge can clearly see what you have to offer the child.
Some of the factors that the courts consider in child custody decisions include:
One of the first factors that the judge will consider is the child’s bond with both parents. Is the child close with both parents? Do they have a preference regarding which parent they would like to stay with? Is the child old enough to make this kind of decision? What the child wants and their relationship with their parents are always important to consider.
The judge will also consider any issues that might reflect poorly on one of the parents. For example, they will want to find out if either parent has a history of domestic abuse or has endangered the child. If you know that your spouse has endangered the child in the past, then we can help prove that to the judge so that it doesn’t happen again in the future.
Ability to Provide for the Child
Another major factor is whether the parents can provide a stable, reliable living environment for the child with a sense of financial security. If one of the parents is homeless or unemployed, then it is going to be far more difficult for them to secure custody. If you’re currently unemployed, then finding employment should be a top priority because it matters to the judge and it matters for the child’s future.
The Child’s Social Life and Education
The judge will also consider how moving in with either parent would affect the child’s social life or educational opportunities. If the child has grown up in a specific town for most of their life and participates in various after-school activities, then the judge may be more reluctant to force them to move. If you intend to remain living in the same house or the same area, then it can definitely help your case.
Reaching a Child Custody Agreement Without the Court in Texas
It is entirely possible to reach a child custody agreement without ever fighting in the courts. In fact, parents are encouraged to take this route because it’s more affordable and can have better results. It’s much easier for parents to determine what is best for the child. But this requires parents to be civil, communicate properly, and reach an agreement that reflects the child’s needs.
The easiest way to accomplish this is to settle through informal negotiations. Both parents will need to discuss the options and determine how physical and legal custody should be shared. The settlement will also need to cover any additional details involved, such as visitation rights and specific holidays.
This parenting plan does not become official until is formalized by the court. The judge will review the agreement and if there are no problems, then it will be formalized and become a legal contract.
What if the Parents Cannot Agree on Any Aspect of Child Custody in Texas?
If the parents cannot reach an agreement, then the decision will be left up to the judge. The specifics of the decision will be determined by all of the different factors discussed above.
The parents can also partake in mediation to hopefully resolve things out-of-court and come up with a custody plan.
Call Our Experienced Kingwood Child Custody Lawyers!
Child custody laws in Texas are intended to protect the children and the rights of the parents. Who receives custody is best decided by the parents outside of court. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work so smoothly. If you can’t reach an agreement and require a judge, then you should immediately contact a Kingwood child custody lawyer for assistance.